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The Origin Project FileExpand The Origin Project File

3.2 Opening, Closing and Backing Up the Origin Project File

To open a project file

  • From the menu, choose File: Open.... Make sure the Files of Type is Origin Files (*.opju, *.opj, .og?, *.ot?). Select the project file and click Open. This will close everything in the current workspace and load the selected project file. If your modifications to the current project have not been saved, Origin will prompt you to save your work.
  • From the menu, choose File: Append. You can select multiple project files. The selected project files will be added to the current workspace. You will be asked if you want to add them as subfolders in the current folder or added directly to the current folder. Note: Each child window name must be unique within a project, so child windows contained in appended OPJs may get renamed.
  • Drag-and-drop a project file from Windows Explorer into the Origin workspace. If the workspace is the default Untitled workspace, this action will be equivalent to File: Open. If there is work in the current workspace, the dropped project file will be appended to the existing workspace.
  • Double-clicking a project file in Windows Explorer will launch a new instance of Origin with the project file loaded.

To save a project file

  • Choose File: Save Project or click Save Project Button Save Project.png on the Standard toolbar. This will save everything in the current Origin workspace to the file name shown in Origin workspace title bar. Note: The Project Explorer folder that is active when saving the OPJ file will be the folder that opens when opening the OPJ file.
  • Choose File: Save Project As... and specify a path, a File Name and Save as Type of *opju or *.opj.
  • Right-click a folder or subfolder in Project Explorer to save only that folder and its subfolders to a separate project file.

You can configure Origin to open a customized project file on startup. Select Tools: Options, click the Open/Close tab and set Start New Project to Origin.opj. Click "Yes" at the prompt. Then, save your customized project to the root of your User Files Folder using the name Origin.opj. Each time you run Origin, your customized project will be loaded automatically.

Origin 2018 includes new file formats for projects, child window files and templates. When you save a file, you will have the option of saving a file with or without a "u" appended to the file type (*.opj or *.opju). If you intend to use the file only in the latest version of Origin, you should choose the new file (appended "u") options as they offer some performance advantages.

What is (and isn't ) saved with the Origin project file?

NOT Saved

Project Backup and Recovery

Origin has three different data recovery features which can be enabled or disabled from Tools: Options:

Project recovery tools options.png
  1. backup is the oldest Origin recovery feature and can be useful for recovering data when you have a project file that will not open.
  2. autosave is useful for recovering from program crashes and power failures.
  3. unsaved is useful for recovering file modifications that you initially declined to save.

New Projects

By default when you launch Origin, the Origin window title shows UNTITLED-/Folder1 to indicate a blank new project and that your current Project Explorer folder is Folder1. This file remains named as UNTITLED until you choose File: Save Project or File: Save Project As. In either case, attempting to save UNTITLED will open the Save As dialog box where you can choose a path, a File name and a file type (Save as type).

Autosave Unsaved Project

If you make some modification to an open project - be it a named project or UNTITLED -- a star character ("*") will show next to the file name in the Origin title bar.

File modify indicator.png

Once a file has been modified, attempting to close the file or exit Origin before choosing File: Save Project or File: Save Project as, will trigger a prompt to save changes to the project.

Beginning with Origin 2018, if you say NO AND Autosave Unsaved Project is enabled (default), the project file will be saved automatically before closing:

Tools autosave unsaved.png
  • If the project was UNTITLED, modified contents are saved to C:\Users\User\Documents\OriginLab\Unsaved\UNTITLED.
  • If the project was named, modified contents are saved to C:\Users\User\Documents\OriginLab\Unsaved\projectName.

To recover the contents of an unsaved project:

Origin central project file list.png
  1. Run Origin. If Origin Central does not open, press F11.
  2. Click the Projects tab.
  3. Browse the Unsaved Files list for your unsaved file.

Notes on Unsaved Projects

  • The maximum size for unsaved files is controlled by LabTalk System Variable @USM. By default, @USM is set to 20MB; unsaved files larger than 20MB will not be autosaved. However, see the note under Controlling Autosave Settings.
  • There can be only one file named UNTITLED. If you want to save the contents of UNTITLED, you should open the file and save it with a meaningful name. While any subsequent changes to UNTITLED will be autosaved, UNTITLED will be overwritten if you start another unnamed project and fail to save on close or exit.
  • If you open an unsaved project then save it, it is added to Recent Files.
  • By default, Unsaved Files are kept for 7 days. The keeping time is controlled by LabTalk System Variable @USKT.
  • Since a saved file is added to Recent Files, and Unsaved Files are kept for 7 days, files can appear in both lists. Be aware that the potential exists to have two different files with the same name - e.g. you open the file from Unsaved Files, modify it, then close or exit without saving. To prevent such things from happening, you can manually delete files from C:\Users\User\Documents\OriginLab\Unsaved\ once you are sure you have the content that you need.

Autosave Project Every xx Minute(s)

Tools autosave every xxminutes.png

Origin has another autosave feature that is turned on by default. Once you've modified your project file, the autosave feature periodically saves project contents to a temporary file in the user's \Documents\OriginLab\Autosave folder. The file will be named with the name of your project file, with a "-number" appended to it.

If you experience a program crash or power failure, you should be able to recover most of your work by browsing to and opening this temporary file. If you save the Origin project and exit the program normally, Origin "cleans up" by deleting the temporary file.

In order for the autosave feature to work:

  • You must have saved the project once; that is, if you are starting with a new project, you must have given it a name.
  • Once you save a project, the project must be modified since your last Save/Save As/Open or no temporary file is created.

To open the autosaved file:

  • Locate the autosave folder by one of the following:
    • Select Help: Open Folder: Autosave Folder menu to open the folder.
    • Opening Tools: Options.... The System Path tab lists all paths created by Origin, including Autosave (Note that, on this tab, you can modify the location of your Autosave folder by highlighting Autosave and then clicking the Change... button).
    • Click the Start menu in Windows desktop, select Programs: Originlab: Origin Version: Autosave (earlier Windows OS); or browse your Start menu list of programs (aka Windows "Apps") and click on the OriginLab Autosave folder icon.
Autosave folder program list.png
  • Use File: Open... to open the file. The autosaved OPJ file should have the same beginning filename as your OPJ file. E.g. if your OPJ file name is 'MYFILE.opj, the autosaved file name will be something like MYFILE-xxxxx.OPJ.

Controlling autosave settings

To enable or disable the autosave feature, or to adjust the period of time between autosaves:

  1. Choose Tools: Options menu to open Options dialog.
  2. Go to Open/Close tab and check or uncheck the Autosave project every x minute(s) checkbox and adjust the saving frequency as needed.
Note: Autosave for large opj files can take a long time. There is a threshold project size -- 20MB by default -- that will trigger the following attention dialog box when the project is saved or autosaved:
Autosave prompt.png

This dialog box allows you, among other things, to turn off autosave for the current project or for any project larger than the threshold size.
Do this only upon careful consideration.

Additionally, you will see that there are options to turn off the attention dialog ("don't ask again..."). To restore the attention dialog once it has been turned off, open the Script Window (Window: Script Window), type the following command and press <Enter>:

doc -ca

The next time you save a large OPJ file, this Attention dialog will open if the @ASC threshold project size has been exceeded (see Related Topics, next).

Related Topics:

Backup Project Before Saving

Tools backup.png

When you manually save an Origin project file, a BACKUP.OPJ file is saved to your User Files Folder (UFF). If, for some reason, your modified file becomes corrupted, you should be able to roll back to the previous version of the file. Note: There is only one BACKUP.OPJ file so if you have later reopened another OPJ file and manually saved the OPJ, the BACKUP.OPJ will be for the new OPJ file. This feature is enabled by default and is independent of the "autosave" and "unsaved" features.

To open the back up project file:

  1. Run Origin.
  2. Choose Help: Open Folder: User Files folder or choose File: Open to browse User Files Folder to open the UFF folder.
  3. Choose BACKUP.OPJ and click Open.

To disable the creation of BACKUP.opj file:

  1. Choose Tools: Options... menu to open the Options dialog.
  2. Go to Open/Close tab and uncheck the Backup Project Before Saving checkbox.


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